This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
|Size||31.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 28,000 items)|
|Abstract||Marion Butler of Sampson County, N.C., was president of the North Carolina and National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union; state and national Populist Party leader; member of the North Carolina Senate; United States senator, 1895-1901; and Republican Party leader after 1904. He owned and edited a newspaper, the Caucasian, located at various times in Clinton, Goldsboro, and Raleigh, N.C. He practiced law in Washington, D.C., 1901-1938. The collection includes personal, political, and business correspondence and other papers of Marion Butler, chiefly 1890-1927. Personal letters include correspondence with his brothers George Butler, Lester Butler, and Henry Butler; his wife Florence Faison Butler; and his sons Marion Butler, Jr., and Edward F. Butler. Business and legal papers document Butler's work as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and newspaper owner in Clinton. N.C., and Raleigh, N.C., as well as his interest in mining and oil investment in Mexico and the western United States, in new inventions, in securing government contracts for various corporations, and in establishing a colony of South Africans in Mexico. His activities as attorney in cases of claims against the United States government, including Civil War claim cases and Indians claims cases as well as other legal cases involving Indians, are also documented. Prominent business correspondents include Josiah M. Vale, Richard Franklin Pettigrew, Baylus Cade, and Lester Butler. Political papers reflect Butler's activities in the state and national Farmers' Alliances, 1892-1895; his campaigns as a Populist candidate and chairman of the national Populist Party; his legislative interests, especially in postal services and agriculture; and his activities as a leader in the North Carolina Republican Party. Political correspondence reflects the major state and national issues in turn-of-the-century politics, including currency reform and free silver, trusts, the white supremacy campaigns in North Carolina in 1898 and 1900, and political patronage. Political correspondents include Daniel Lindsay Russell, Walter Clark, J. H. (Cyclone) Davis, Benjamin Orange Flower, Cyrus Thompson, Jeter Conley Pritchard, William Jennings Bryan, Spencer Adams, W. S. O'B. Robinson, Tom Watson, John Motley Morehead, and many others.|
|Creator||Butler, Marion, 1863-1938.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Marion Butler, agrarian leader and United States senator, was born on 20 May 1863 near Clinton in Sampson County, N.C. He was the oldest of six children of Romelia Ferrell and Wiley Butler, a farmer. Marion Butler graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1885. He began to study law at the University, but left to take over the responsibility of running the family farm when his father died. In addition to farming, Butler conducted an academy for the schooling of his younger brothers and sisters, as well as neighbors' children.
When the Farmers' Alliance movement spread to North Carolina in the late 1880s, Butler joined the organization and became president of the Sampson County Farmers' Alliance. He purchased a weekly newspaper in the county seat of Clinton, the Caucasian (which he subsequently moved to Goldsboro and then to Raleigh) and in 1890, at the age of 27, he was elected to the state senate as an Alliance Democrat. In the legislature, Butler became the leader of the dominant agrarian forces, and in 1891 became president of the state Farmers' Alliance. Butler was elected president of the National Farmers' Alliance in 1893.
Advocates of free silver and other financial and economic reforms, Butler and his followers in the Alliance opposed Grover Cleveland, whom the national Democratic party renominated for the presidency in 1892. When the leaders of the North Carolina Democratic party ruled that no member could "split the ticket," that is, vote Democratic in the state and local elections but not in the presidential race, Butler led thousands of Alliancemen in a bolt from the Democratic party to join the new People's or Populist party.
In North Carolina, the Populists entered the campaign of 1892 late, yet they and the Republicans together polled a larger vote than the Democrats. In the state elections of 1894, Butler led the Populists into cooperation with the Republicans, a policy known as "fusion." The combined forces of the Populists and the Republicans swept the state to gain control of both houses of the legislature and to send Butler to the United States Senate in 1895. In Washington, Butler vigorously advocated reform and took his place alongside other agrarian champions of the silver cause.
Butler achieved his greatest national prominence in 1896 when, as national chairman of the Populist party, he led in effecting the compromise whereby the Populists at their convention in St. Louis, Mo., endorsed William Jennings Bryan, already the Democratic nominee for president, on a ticket with the Populists' own vice-presidential nominee, Thomas E. Watson of Georgia. In the campaign that followed, Butler worked closely with Bryan and other national Democratic leaders to effect a policy of Populist-Democratic cooperation or fusion on the tickets for presidential electors, even though in North Carolina, Populists and Republicans continued to cooperate in many of the state and local elections.
After Bryan was defeated, the Populist-Republican forces extended their control in North Carolina. When the Democrats returned to power with their massive "white supremacy" campaigns of 1898 and 1900, however, Butler lost his seat in the Senate. He continued to serve as Populist national chairman until 1904, when he became a Republican. Although Governor Daniel Lindsay Russell originated the famous interstate lawsuit wherein South Dakota successfully sued North Carolina over railroad bonds that the North Carolina had semi-repudiated, Butler played an important role in the affair. As a result, for many years, almost until his death in fact, Tar Heel Democrats fought the Republicans using variations on the them of "Butler, Boodle, and Bonds."
As a United States senator, Butler played a key role in the establishment of free rural mail delivery. He was also instrumental in initiating the postal savings bank system. In North Carolina, he and his fellow agrarian reformers were proud of their contributions to the establishment of a state college for women at Greensboro, to the establishment of a state railway commission, and to other reforms. A conspicuous friend of public education at all levels, Butler stood by the University of North Carolina at a critical time and served as a trustee and a member of the executive board from 1891 to 1899.
While still a senator, Butler resumed his study of law at the University of North Carolina, and after retiring from public life, he engaged in practice in Washington, D.C.
Marion Butler married Florence Faison of Sampson County on 31 August 1893. They had five children: Pocahontas, Marion, Edward F., Florence F., and Wiley. Butler died on 3 June 1938 in Takoma Park, Md., and was buried from St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Clinton, to which he and his wife belonged, in the Clinton Cemetery.
Adapted from Robert F. Durden, "Marion Butler," Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1979), vol. 1, pp. 291-292.Back to Top
Personal, political, and business correspondence and other papers of Marion Butler, chiefly 1890-1927. The papers primarily document Butler's political career; they also include correspondence and other papers documenting Butler's work as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and owner of the Caucasian, a newspaper in Clinton, N.C. and Raleigh, N.C. In an effort to provide access to the immense diversity of the materials in this collection, political, business, and personal correspondence have been filed together in chronological order and other political and business papers have been filed in separate series. Butler's activities in these areas, however, should not be viewed in isolation. In reality, all of these areas were thoroughly integrated in Butler's daily life, with politics influencing his business ventures, business ventures often directly relating to his political interests, and his personal life largely driven by political and business concerns.
Personal letters include correspondence with Butler's brothers George Butler, Lester Butler, and Henry Butler; his wife Florence Faison Butler; and his sons Marion Butler, Jr., and Edward F. Butler.
Butler's political correspondence documents his activities in the state and national Farmers' Alliances, 1892-1895; his campaigns as a Populist candidate and chairman of the national Populist Party; his legislative interests, especially in postal services and agriculture; and his activities as a leader in the North Carolina Republican Party. This correspondence reflects the major state and national issues in turn-of-the-century politics, including currency reform and free silver, trusts, the white supremacy campaigns in North Carolina in 1898 and 1900, political party organization, and political patronage. Political correspondents include Daniel Lindsay Russell, Walter Clark, J. H. (Cyclone) Davis, Benjamin Orange Flowers, Cyrus Thompson, Jeter Conley Pritchard, William Jennings Bryan, Spencer Adams, W. S. O'B. Robinson, Tom Watson, John M. Morehead (1866-1923), E. C. Duncan, and many others.
Business and legal papers document, among other things, Butler's interest in mining and oil investment in Mexico and the western United States; in hydroelectric power and water supply projects in Mexico; in financing and marketing new inventions; in getting government contracts for corporations; in acting as attorney in cases of claims against the United States government, including Civil War claims, Indian claims, other legal cases involving Indians, and other legal cases; in representing applicants for federal jobs, including postmasters, collector of customs, and others; in operating the Caucasian and the Daily Industrial News, a Republican newspaper in Greensboro, N.C.; and in the management of his plantation near Elliott, N.C. Prominent business correspondents include Josiah M. Vale, Richard Franklin Pettigrew, T. M. West, Baylus Cade, Thomas Rollins, Hal W. Ayer, and Lester Butler.Back to Top
Political, business, and persional correspondence and related items of Marion Butler. In an effort to provide access to the immense diversity of the materials in this series, some of the descriptions below discuss the political, business, and personal correspondence separately. Butler's activities in these areas, however, should not be viewed in isolation. In reality, all of these areas were thoroughly integrated in Butler's daily life.
Materials relating to politics and to business constitute the vast majority of items in this series. In the first two subseries, which contain correspondence from the years 1891 through 1900, there are very few letters written by Butler; nearly all of the letters are incoming. Beginning in 1901, there are many carbon copies of letters sent out by Marion Butler.
In each subseries, some topics are highlighted, but researchers should note that these descriptions are in no way comprehensive. Butler's position in the People's Party, as an influential though junior senator, and as a businessman and lawyer with widely diverse interests meant that he was involved in virtually every important issue of his day, only some of which have been directly addressed in the descriptions below.
Letters to Marion Butler about Farmers' Alliances; personal letters to Butler from Florence Faison; a few letters about political issues, the operation of the Caucasian, and the construction and financing of the Leonidas L. Polk Memorial; and other items.
Correspondence about Farmers' Alliances primarily concerns the operation, finances, and legislative concerns of the North Carolina Farmers' State Alliance and county Alliances in North Carolina. There are four letters concerning the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union. Also included are a few letters from Populists discussing the political scene at state and national levels, especially the possibility of cooperating with other political parties. Correspondents include Hal Ayer of Raleigh, N.C; Benjamin Orange Flower, editor of The Arena; Henry Loucks, vice-president and then president of the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union (NFAIU); J. F. Tillman, a member of the executive board of the NFAIU; and P. G. Van Vleet of the Independent Rural Press Association. Of particular interest are a letter in 1891 to Elias Carr from a Farmers' State Alliance member regarding internal party conflicts and, in 1891, comments from Leonidas L. Polk to John Thorne about the advisability of fusion with Democrats and sectional interests of the South and West in financial reform.
Letters to Marion Butler from Florence Faison of Elliott, N.C., describe her social activities and document activities of family and friends. Faison also commented on Butler's political activities, particularly his treatment by the North Carolina Democratic Party and his conflicts with Harry Skinner. There are also a letter about and a copy of Marion Butler's life insurance policy, a few letters about the operation of the Caucasian, and three letters of Josiah M. Vale about a legal case involving the Ute Indians.
Correspondence of Marion Butler, almost exclusively consisting of letters received by Butler, chiefly focussed on politics and Butler's tenure in the United States Senate, but also containing letters about the operation of the Caucasian and a few family letters. Much of this material also has political overtones.
Letters from family and friends ask for jobs or financial assistance. A few letters from Butler's brothers Lester and Henry, students at the University of North Carolina, ask for money. Letters from Butler's brother George discuss national and state politics, including George's activities in the North Carolina Senate, and occasionally give news of family members. In 1898, there are letters from George headed Camp Springfield and then Camp Cuba Libre, Jacksonville, Fla., describing Spanish-American War preparation and requesting Butler's help in securing promotions and discharges for his fellow officers. There are also a few 1898 letters from others giving war news and discussing the Cuban situation.
Most letters to Butler dealing with the Caucasian's operation and financial problems are from Hal Ayer, managing editor, or R. C. Rivers, business manager, both of whom wrote to Butler regarding subscriptions, advertising, and management issues. There are also a few letters from individuals purchasing stock in the Caucasian or explaining their inability to do so. In 1896, W. H. Worth, North Carolina state treasurer, also wrote about the Caucasian's finances and the influence of Democratic Party newspapers. These letters also contain slight references to People's Party politics in general. In 1898, Henry W. Butler wrote as local editor of the Clinton Caucasian.
Materials relating directly to politics constitute the vast majority of items during this period. Researchers should note that the following descriptions are in no way comprehensive. Butler's position in the People's Party and as an influential though junior senator meant that he was involved in virtually every important issue of his day; many of those issues are reflected in his correspondence.
From April to December 1895, most letters discuss the national and North Carolina People's Party. Many letters are about debates on fusion with the Democrats or Republicans and the dangers of openly breaking with Democratic Party in North Carolina. There are also overtures to Marion Butler from the American Bimetallic Party and other free-silver forces and letters to Marion Butler requesting help finding jobs.
Included are letters from J. H. Edmisten of the Nebraska People's Party; Benjamin Orange Flower of the Arena Publishing Company; W. E. Fountain of the Tarboro (N.C.) board of trade; William A. Guthrie of Durham, N.C.; Henry Jones of the American Bimetallic Party; Jo. A. Parker of the Kentucky People's Party; James H. Sherrill of the North Carolina Press Association; Populist leader Tom Watson of Georgia; Spier Whitaker; and J. F. Willits, president of the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union, about the inscription on the Polk monument.
In early 1896, most letters have to do with politics. In January 1896 are found form letters from Marion Butler to county organizers of the People's Party in North Carolina regarding fusion and election strategies. The organizers' responses are mostly brief statements supporting the position of the state executive committee. Letters from D. Schenk discuss a stockholders' suit to break the lease of the North Carolina Railroad by the Southern Railway.
There are also many letters from Populists both supporting and warning against fusion with other parties, expressing their views on running a People' Party candidate in the North Carolina governor's race, describing the party's fund-raising and financial woes, and complaining of being ill used by the Republican Party. J. H. Edmisten and J. A. Edgerton of Nebraska wrote to Butler concerning Paul Van der Voort and the Reform Press Association, criticizing other party leaders, and discussing the call for a convention of the American Bimetallic League in the South. In February 1896, there is a letter from Butler to J. A. Simms of Concord, N.C., on the pitfalls of fusion with the Republicans.
From April to June 1896, letters discuss the upcoming political conventions and election, fusion with the Republicans or Democrats, and attempts by "Silver" Democrats to lure People's Party voters. Many letters detail internal People's Party controversies. Tom Watson wrote questioning the support he received from Butler and other Populists. William A. Guthrie wrote about the political situation and Populist strategy. There are more letters from D. Schenck about the North Carolina Railroad and other issues. Among the other correspondents were W. H. Kitchin; E. P. Mangum; James Shepard on fusion with African-American Republicans; John Sims, sheriff of Cabarrus County, N.C.; C. A. Nash of Louisburg, N.C.; Cyrus Thompson, president of the North Carolina Farmers' Alliance; Davis Waite, governor of Colorado; and S. Otho Wilson of the North Carolina Railroad Commission.
In July 1896, there are letters relating to the People's Party's St. Louis convention's nomination of William Jennings Bryan, already the Democratic Party nominee, and Tom Watson. Before the convention, Butler received a letter from William Teller asking him to support Bryan. Butler also received a letter from Tom Watson on post-convention strategy and ways to force Arthur Sewall, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, off the ticket, and other letters about politics from Jesse F. Click of Hickory, N.C.; William A. Guthrie of Durham, N.C.; Richmond Pearson, member of Congress from North Carolina; William James Peele; H. W. Reed of Georgia; D. Schenck; Populist Party leader H. E. Taubeneck; and J. B. Weaver. Also included is a letter from Franklin K. Lane, 30 July 1896, enclosing a proposed fusion plan for California.
From August to October 1896, correspondence is predominantly concerned with national and state elections, the split in the People's Party over the national executive committee's fusion policy, and the impasse over the competing vice-presidential candidacies of Tom Watson and Arthur Sewall. Butler received several letters from Tom Watson, who argued long and passionately against Sewall's candidacy and indicated he was not satisfied with Butler's treatment of himself. Also included is a copy of a letter, 8 September 1896, from Butler to Watson rebuking him for comments Watson made in a speech in Dallas.
Numerous letters describe the political situation in various states, especially Idaho, Colorado, Florida, and Kentucky, but also Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, California, and Kansas. Also included are letters to Butler from other members of the People's Party National Executive Committee (J. A. Edgerton, Martin C. Rankin, Geo. F. Washburn, J. R. Sovereign, John W. Breidenthal, H.W. Reed, and Jno. S. Dore). Sovereign, who was Grand Workman of the Knights of Labor, wrote on 6 August 1896 suggesting a labor department in the campaign and sent later letters on letterhead of the Bryan Free Silver Campaign Labor Bureau about campaign finances and tactics. Reed wrote several letters about Tom Watson. Breidenthal wrote about the character of Kansas governor Llewelling as well as other issues.
Other correspondents include Edward Boyce of the Western Federation of Miners, 14 September 1896; John D. Buchanan of Tennessee; Eugene Debs, 14 September 1896, on Butler's circular in answer to a railroad circular; Fred T. Dubois of Idaho; R. F. Kolb of Alabama; W. S. Morgan of Arkansas, who believed that the Democrats would prefer to see the Populists destroyed than Bryan elected; Jo. A. Parker of Kentucky; C. C. Post of Florida; J. F. Rhoads of Florida; Julius Rosenheimer of Indiana; D. C. Scarborough, attorney in Natchitoches, La.; and L. H. Weller of Iowa on the need to jettison Sewall.
Letters on North Carolina politics discuss fusion with the North Carolina Republican Party. In October, correspondence focuses increasingly on the North Carolina races and shows a growing disenchantment with fusion among the party's rank and file. Included are letters from Charles Brantley Aycock of Goldsboro; Hal W. Ayer of Raleigh; O. H. Dockery of Mangum, a potential gubernatorial candidate; William A. Guthrie; B. F. Keith of Wilmington; James B. Lloyd of Tarboro; J. J. Mott of Iredell County; A. J. Moye of Farmville; William James Peele; D. Schenck; James H. Sherrill of Catawba; A. C. (Alonzo Craig) Shuford, Populist member of Congress from Newton; Harry Skinner; and S. Otho Wilson of the People's Party Executive Committee of the Fourth Congressional District about North Carolina politics, state and national Populist strategy, and the conduct of Tom Watson.
There is also a printed copy of a letter, 19 October 1896, from Hinton Rowan Helper to John Sherman sent to Butler "with the compliments of the writer."
In November 1896, letters discuss the aftermath of the election; assess the political situation in various states and in North Carolina counties; and contain requests for Butler's assistance in obtaining or retaining various patronage appointments. Much of the North Carolina correspondence relates to possible challengers to Jeter Conley Pritchard, who had been elected by Republicans and Populists in the state legislature in 1894 to finish the late Zebulon B. Vance's Senate term and was up for reelection in 1897. Another topic is how to unite all the silver forces, including forming a non-partisan free-silver organization. Included are letters from Hal Ayer, W. H. Worth and others about the Caucasian; letters from William Jennings Bryan requesting a photo of Butler, a copy of the Populist platform, a copy of Tom Watson's speech in Lincoln, Neb., and other Populist literature for use in a book; a letter from Ignatius Donnelly asking Butler to call for a meeting to rally and reorganize the Populist Party; letters from N. H. Motsinger of Indiana, H. W. Reed of Georgia, George Washburn of Massachusetts, Henry Loucks of South Dakota, and others about national politics; and from Walter Clark, J. F. Click, William A. Guthrie, B. F. Keith, A. C. Shuford, and others about North Carolina politics, including a letter from Josephus Daniels asking support for a free-silver Senatorial candidate. A few letters mention the Cuba question.
A letter copy book, 1006 p., 25 August 1896-24 October 1896, contains copies of letters from Marion Butler as chairman of the National Executive Committee of the People's Party to Populist leaders in many states. Many letters discuss the difficulty of achieving cooperation with the Democrats in each state and the Populists' shortage of funds for their campaign. Some letters discuss the conduct of Tom Watson and other political issues. A few letters are signed by Butler's private secretary, F. H. Hoover. A second, smaller letter copy book, 216 p., 26 October 1896-10 April 1897, contains many letters signed by Hoover as well as many from Butler. There are no letters between 2 November and 14 December 1896. Letters before 2 November mostly concern the details of campaign management and many letters after 14 December concern the future of the Populist party. A letter from Marion Butler to William Jennings Bryan, 16 December 1896, calls attention to the growing importance of the transportation question and asks Bryan to deal with it in his forthcoming book.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Post Offices and Post Road, Butler received many letters in support of the Loud bill regulating second-class mail and a few letters opposing it.
Correspondence in 1897 focuses on the North Carolina Senate race, incumbent Jeter Conley Pritchard's suitability as a candidate, and the controversy over Harry Skinner's endorsement of Pritchard. In additions to these letters, there are many letters of application and letters in support or opposition to applicants for postmasterships in North Carolina, including many in December concerning the controversy over appointment of Israel D. Hargett, an African-American, as postmaster at Rocky Mount, N.C. Other letters include some from Populists taking sides in disputes between Marion Butler and Tom Watson over fusion; and letters discussing railroads, arbitration treaty legislation, direct legislation and single tax movements, and the gold standard and currency reform.
In January and February, there are many letters to Butler and a few from him relating to a conflict between the National Reform Press Association and the People's Party executive committee. In March, there are many letters relating to conflict between factions of the People's Party, particularly over fusion. Responses from state Populist leaders to a circular letter sent by Butler requesting advice as to whether he should call a national conference of the Populist party discuss the present and future of the party. James H. (Cyclone) Davis wrote about the Populist party and the dangers of fusion, the campaign in Iowa (12 September 1897), and national politics.
In the correspondence is a letter from Samuel Gompers, 17 February 1897, responding to Butler's request for a list of organizations affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. Also included is a letter, 10 March 1897, from H. S. Pingree, governor of Michigan, about the effort to reduce railroad and telephone rates. In the summer and fall of 1897, numerous letters discuss elections in Ohio and fusionist charges that moderate Populists accepted money from Mark Hanna and the Republican Party. In a letter of 13 July 1897, Ignatius Donnelly asked Butler to answer charges that Butler had aided an enemy of Donnelly.
Frequent correspondents include George E. Butler; Walter Clark; Philip Crapo, attorney of New York City; J. A. Edgerton; William A. Guthrie; Eltweed Pomeroy of New Jersey, editor of Direct Legislation Record ; John Clark Ridpath, editor of The Arena; James R. Sovereign, General Master Workman of the Knights of Labor; C. F. Taylor of Philadelphia; C. Vincent, editor of the American Nonconformist ; and George Washburn.
Other prominent correspondents include John W. Breidenthal, Julian S. Carr, Jesse F. Click, J. H. Edmisten, James Ferris, B. O. Flower, W. E. Fountain, B. F. Keith, H. D. Loucks, David Lubin, Mann Page, president of the National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union, Jo. A. Parker, Milton Park, C. C. Post, Edward W. Pou, H. W. Reed about Watson and business conditions in Mexico, and Daniel Lindsay Russell.
In 1898, many leaders of the national Populist Party, including Harry Tracy, Robert Schilling, and James Ferris, wrote to Butler about the Populist party, especially the widening split between the moderate and the fusionist factions. A letter, 1 March 1898, from James H. (Cyclone) Davis expresses Davis's support for Butler's article on trusts published in the Arena. Responses to this article continue through March.
Letters about North Carolina politics discuss prospects for the survival of the Populist movement in North Carolina; railroad legislation; and currency reform. In June and July there are letters from county Populist leaders responding to Butler's request for information on the political situation in their counties. Many letters discuss disfranchisement of African Americans and scare tactics allegedly employed by state Democrats.
Also discussed in 1898 are requests for civil service jobs; requests for help in getting military appointments, promotions, or discharges; disputes over the appointment and retention of African Americans as postmasters as well as applications and recommendations of many others for the postmasterships in North Carolina (see also Series 2.2.3); state and federal relations regarding prisons; and controversy over the Senate's confirmation of Judge Hamilton Glover Ewart, which Butler opposed.
In November and December, there are letters reviewing the Populists' poor showing in the November election. Ben Tillman, 1 November 1898, wrote to defend himself against Butler's objection to his speaking in North Carolina. There are letters from B. F. Keith about Wilmington race riots and from Thomas Sutton about Democratic plans to win back legislative control and to disfranchise African-American and poor white voters.
Correspondents include Thomas H. Battle and L. V. Bassett of Rocky Mount about African American postmaster Israel D. Hargett; L. C. Caldwell, North Carolina Railroad Commission chair; Frank Carter and V. S. Lusk of Asheville and S. V. Pickens of Hendersonville on the Ewart confirmation; Jesse F. Click, editor of the Hickory (N.C.) Times Mercury about politics and about possibly editing the Caucasian; James H. (Cyclone) Davis on national Populist losses; W. E. Fountain; William A. Guthrie; William Leary of Edenton, N.C.; James B. Lloyd; Jeter Conley Pritchard on the political situation in North Carolina; North Carolina Governor Daniel Lindsay Russell about the political situation in North Carolina and about his desire to get a post office at the store on his plantation near Wilmington; James H. Sherrill; Alonzo C. Shuford; A. E. Spriggs, lieutenant governor of Montana; William F. Strowd, and Cyrus Thompson about the North Carolina Populist party.
The volume of correspondence decreases considerably in 1899. Principal topics are strategies for regaining Populist momentum; William Jennings Bryan's anti-expansionist views, including letters, 30 January and 13 February 1899, from Bryan opposing imperialism and supporting independence for the Philippines. Letters from Butler's constituents voice opposition to African-American postmasters and discuss the confirmation of Judge Hamilton Glover Ewart, postal bills, and fish hatcheries on the coast. Butler also received complaints early in 1899 from two soldiers in a North Carolina regiment who believed they should be released from military service after the war had ended. Beginning in September, the focus of the correspondence is on Populist plans for 1900.
Correspondents include Walter Clark; James H. (Cyclone) Davis; David Lubin; Jeter Conley Pritchard; Harry Tracy on the North Carolina election law disfranchising African Americans and poor whites; and Leo Vincent, who was running for Colorado State Labor Commission.
Letters about Senate business include some from organizations supporting the proposed Appalachian Park in North Carolina, opposing trusts, and supporting direct election of Senators; some from individuals expressing opinions about the confirmation of Judge Hamilton Glover Ewart or the ship subsidy bill, including some from David Lubin supporting export bounties on agricultural products; and letters from George T. Winston, president of the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (later North Carolina State University) advocating amendment of the pending free homestead bills. Also included is a letter, 12 March 1900, from the Holland Torpedo Boat Company inviting Butler to attend, with other members of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs, members of the House Committee on Naval Affairs, and the Secretary of the Navy, an exhibition of their submarine torpedo-boat.
In January 1900, there are many letters about whether the People's Party National Executive Committee meeting should be held in Lincoln, Neb., the home of William Jennings Bryan, and about who should have proxies of committee members not attending. Letters on both national and North Carolina politics intensify in March. Topics include North Carolina's proposed suffrage amendment and rivalries between moderates and fusionist Populists, as they prepared for the party's convention, which was held in Sioux Falls, S.D., on 9 May 1900. Correspondents include J. A. Edgerton, secretary of the National Committee of the People's Party on the Populist standing in various states; J. H. Edmisten, member of the National Committee and state chairman of the People's Party in Nebraska; Charles Towne and others on Towne's possible nomination as Bryan's vice-presidential candidate; and Flavius J. Van Vorhis, chair of the Indiana Silver Republican Committee. There are also several letters from James H. (Cyclone) Davis and Harry Tracy, who were traveling through the country meeting with Populist leaders and campaigning for Populists.
In January, with follow-ups in March and May, there are surveys Butler conducted in North Carolina that yielded lists of Democrats opposed to legislation that would disfranchise African Americans and poor whites and lists of Populists and Republicans who had been pressured into voting the Democratic ticket. Correspondents include William Allen and George Edmunds, both of whom said they believed that the educational qualification included in North Carolina's proposed suffrage amendment was constitutional and would be supported by the courts but that the grandfather clause was not constitutional and thus illiterate white voters would be disfranchised along with blacks. Drafts, 30 April 1900, of a letter to Senator Furnifold M. Simmons explicate Populist reasons for opposing the amendment, including the belief that poor white voters would be disfranchised.
Correspondence in June and July centers almost exclusively on preparation for the 1 August 1900 election, in which voters would vote on the disfranchisement amendment to the North Carolina Constitution. Included are letters from Republican Party leaders, including A. E. Holton, and from state Populist leaders Hal W. Ayer and R. B. Davis, as well as from Populist county and township chairmen. Many letters describe the process being used to select and appoint local election officials. There are also reports of refusals to register African Americans or Populists to vote. George Bennett, an African American in Hamilton, N.C., wrote, 5 July 1900, to the People's Party headquarters in Raleigh that he had tried to register to vote and had been refused because he could not prove his age. White Populists also reported to Butler that African Americans were not being allowed to register if they could not find two white men to swear to their age. These and other letters describe fears that violence would be employed by Democrats to intimidate voters.
In August, there are many letters reporting from precincts, townships, and counties on election results in North Carolina. Many of these letters report fraud and intimidation of voters. Some letters suggest grounds for contesting the election in their locality and others ask for information about the possibility of challenging the election results. Some letters in the latter half of August discuss national Populist party business, including efforts by J. H. Edmisten to have the Populist Party's National Executive Committee endorse the Democratic National ticket.
There are very few letters for September through December 1900.
Correspondence of Marion Butler after he left the United States Senate and began practicing law, first in North Carolina and then in Washington, D.C. Included are personal, political, and business letters, including many carbon copies of typed letters written by Marion Butler. After leaving the Senate, Butler remained active in politics while developing his various business interests. In 1901, there are many letters relating to Butler's business and business correspondence appears throughout the subseries, but most of the letters in this subseries relate to his political activities.
Although the description below outlines political and business streams separately, in a practical sense, Butler's activities in these two realms are inseparable, his politics influencing his business ventures and his business ventures often directly relating to his political interests. For example, Butler and former Republican governor Daniel L. Russell, served as attorneys from 1901 to 1904 in the South Dakota bond case, a case of political and financial significance. Other examples are found in Butler's correspondence about business with former political allies R. F. Pettigrew and George Washburn and in letters from Thomas R. Rollins and Jeter C. Pritchard about establishing a Republican newspaper in North Carolina.
A small percentage of material in this time period relates directly to personal matters, most of which also have political or business overtones, as in the case of letters from family and friends asking for jobs or financial assistance.
Letters about Populist party politics, 1901-1904, and later about the Republican Party, mostly in North Carolina. Many letters relate to the establishment, operation, and failure of the Industrial News in Greensboro as a Republican Party newspaper; to Butler's opposition to the Republican Party machine led by Spencer Adams and E. C. Duncan; and to patronage jobs, such as postmasters and tax collectors.
Prominent correspondents include Spencer Adams, J. S. Basnight, Victor S. Bryant, William Preston Bynum, Jesse F. Click, Robert Douglas, E. C. Duncan, D. L. Gore, Gilliam Grissom, Thurston T. Hicks, A. E. Holton, Charles A. Jonas, B. F. Keith, Walter Montgomery, John M. Morehead (1866-1923), John James Mott, Jake Newell, Richard Franklin Pettigrew, Jeter Conley Pritchard, W. S. O'B. Robinson, Thomas S. Rollins, Theodore Roosevelt, Daniel Lindsay Russell, W. F. Sessoms, Reed Smoot, William H. Taft, Cyrus Thompson, Josiah M. Vale, Henry B. Wall, and Zeb Vance Walser.
The majority of the correspondence, 1901-1904, when Butler was still chair of the National Executive Committee of the People's Party, has to do with politics. In 1901, many letters have to do with Butler's establishment of his legal practice and business interests. In 1902-1904, most of the correspondence in about politics. Many letters from individuals in North Carolina and other states discuss the future of the Populist movement and reform.
In 1902, Butler was assessing Jeter Conley Pritchard's prospects for re-election to the United States Senate. He was also involved in trying to reconcile the moderate and fusion wings of the People's Party.
By 1904, People's Party material dramatically decreases, as Butler openly declared his Republican Party affiliation. Most of his North Carolina correspondence concerns struggles between Democrats and Republicans and within the Republican Party in the state. In August-November 1904, there are letters about national politics and the presidential campaign, including letters from George Cortelyou of the Republican National Committee and Thomas S. Rollins of the North Carolina Republican Executive Committee.
Throughout 1904, there is correspondence about the postmaster confirmation battles in Wilmington, N.C. In November and December, there are more letters about postmasterships and other political patronage jobs in North Carolina as well as a few letters about the possibility of Butler's becoming secretary of the interior or ambassador to Mexico.
Most letters, 1905-1910, relate to Republican politics in North Carolina, especially the establishment, operation, and eventual bankruptcy of the Industrial News as a Republican organ in Greensboro; Butler's collaboration and eventual split with Spencer Adams; political patronage; and appointment of a federal judge for eastern North Carolina.
Few letters shed any light on the role of African Americans in North Carolina politics, but there is a letter, 18 May 1908, to Marion Butler from J. E. Shepard of Durham, N.C., saying that he was preparing to contest the election and action of delegates to the National Convention at Chicago on June 16 and asking for information on a statement by Col. Harry Skinner that he would rather "never hold office than get it at the hands of the Negroes."
Both Butler and Spencer Adams exchanged letters with President-elect William Howard Taft in December 1908. Taft wrote to Butler on 7 December 1908, that one of the difficulties he found "in dealing with the politics of the Southern States is the violence and extremity of the statements of one faction in the Republican party in respect to another."
Nearly all of the correspondence in 1909-1910 concerns a legal case in which Butler and his brother Lester were sued for libel by Spencer Adams in 1908. The libel suit arose from stories published in the Caucasian about charges that Adams accepted bribes while serving as a judge in Indian Territory. Butler corresponded with many individuals regarding the progress of the trial and its effect on the Republican party in North Carolina. There are many letters from individuals in the Indian Territories and Butler's law partner, Josiah M. Vale, who was gathering testimony to support the newspaper story. Butler and his brother were convicted of libel, but the verdict was overturned on appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court and eventually settled out of court in 1910. Major correspondents on the libel trial were E. J. Justice, J. M. Vale, W. S. O'B. Robinson, William P. Bynum, A. E. Holton, and Marion Butler's brothers, George Butler and Lester Butler.
Beginning late in 1910 and continuing through 1911 and 1912, correspondence largely concerns Butler's battles with the Spencer Adams/E. C. Duncan faction of the North Carolina Republican Party. The correspondence of these years has to do primarily with which Republicans should be appointed to postmasterships and other patronage positions in North Carolina. Also included are letters opposing the election of H. G. Ewart as Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. Butler's primary allies in his battles and two of his major correspondents during this period were John Motley Morehead (1866-1923), chairman of the Republican State Executive Committee and the committee's Secretary-Treasurer Gilliam Grissom. After Wilson's victory, Butler and other North Carolina Republicans corresponded about Taft's chances of getting Republican nominees into patronage positions before Wilson's inauguration.
Correspondence about Butler's business, investments, and law practice, including letters about insurance business; real estate investments in North Carolina, Colorado, Indian Territory, Mexico, and elsewhere; oil and mining investments in North Carolina, California, and Mexico; investments in inventions; power company investments; negotiations relating to government contracts; legal advice on claims, patents, and other legal matters; and other business related to the practice of law.
Butler's correspondence in 1901 shows that he was practicing law in Raleigh, N.C. In 1902, he apparently opened an office in Washington, D.C., and for some time had offices in Raleigh and Washington. In 1904, Butler was still using business stationery with addresses in Raleigh and Washington. From early in 1905, his letters are written on stationery of Butler & Vale in Washington, D.C.
In 1901, there is correspondence between Butler and insurance companies arranging for Butler to serve as their North Carolina representative. Correspondence about Butler's business as insurance agent continues in 1902. Also included in 1901 are letters about investments, including requests from North Carolina towns and businesses for Butler to obtain "northern capital" for them.
Letters and other materials relate to Butler's investments in the California King Gold Mines Company, for which William Teller, William Townes, and Richard Franklin Pettigrew were directors; the Empire Copper Company; and the Rio del Monte Gold Mines Company of Arizona.
In 1903, letters from R. F. Pettigrew, H. B. Wall, and G. D. Joubert relate to an unsuccessful attempt to establish a colony of Boers in Tamaulipas and Coahuila State, Mexico. A few letters relate to other business in Mexico. See Series 3 for additional papers relating to the Boer colony and Butler's investments in Mexico.
There are also some letters, 1901-1904, about the suit brought by South Dakota against North Carolina over railroad construction bonds that North Carolina had repudiated. Included is correspondence with Richard Franklin Pettigrew and Governor Daniel Lindsay Russell about a financial disagreement involving the case that resulted in a permanent break between Russell and Butler. See Series 3.6 for additional papers relating to the South Dakota bond case.
Other letters relating to Butler's legal practice include letters about claims cases arising from the Civil War and Reconstruction and a few letters about Indian claims cases. The Civil War claims were primarily claims from persons claiming to have been loyal to the Union whose cotton was taken by the United States Army. Butler also represented the families of several United States Senators from Southern states who were paid from the date they took their seats in the Senate rather than from the beginning of their terms. The claimants asked for payments of the salary unpaid from the beginning of the Senators' terms to the dates they took their seats. See Series 3.3 and 3.4 for additional papers relating to claims cases and the descriptions of those series for additional information about the cases.
Beginning in 1905, there is correspondence between Butler and his law partner, Josiah M. Vale, mostly about Indian cases and investments in land, mining, and oil leases. There is also correspondence with Richard Franklin Pettigrew about several joint business investments, including a claim of the Osage Traders and interests in the California King Gold Mines Company, Rio Del Monte Gold Mines Company, and other mining concerns.
Throughout this period, there is correspondence with Butler's brothers Lester and George about the operation of the Caucasian. Letters relate to circulation and costs and also to editorial policy.
In 1905, Butler helped to establish a Republican newspaper in North Carolina. He corresponded with Spencer Adams, E. C. Duncan, Tyre Glenn, Jeter Conley Pritchard, Thomas S. Rollins, and other Republican leaders about the idea, and about capitalization and organization of the paper. The result was the Industrial News of Greensboro, with Rollins as president, Adams as vice-president, R. D. Douglas as secretary-treasurer, and, after some negotiation, A. R. Parkhurst as managing editor.
In 1905, there is correspondence with Fred T. Dubois about his purchase of the Idaho Scimitar to promote his political positions in Idaho, as well as correspondence about mining, oil leases, and land speculation. Some letters relate to Butler's efforts to market B. F. Keith's improved carriage axle.
In a letter of 12 December 1905, J. E. Shepard, Field Superintendent Work Among Negroes, International Sunday School Association, suggested that Butler consider investing in the Carolina Mutual Life Ins. Co., "a company that is writing insurance among the colored people." On 8 January 1906, Shepard asked to borrow $5,000 for the insurance company. Later letters from Shepard concern loans Butler arranged for Shepard.
In 1906-1909, there are scattered letters about Indian legal cases and claims cases; letters about mines and other investments in the West, including oil leases in Oklahoma; letters about the operation and editorial policy of the Caucasian; letters about the management problems and financial difficulties of the Industrial News; letters about Butler's representation of the Electric Boat Company in its efforts to sell a submarine to the United States Navy.
Correspondence after the 1912 election focuses primarily on Butler's law practice and business interests. It also contains some political correspondence, especially in election years, when political correspondence predominates. Included are many carbon copies of typed letters from Marion Butler, some of which are on the backs of political form letters. The volume of correspondence decreases considerably in 1917 and dramatically in 1918. In 1920, the volume of correspondence again increases; there is a gradual decline from 1927 through 1937. In the 1930s, there is very little business correspondence.
Most of the business correspondence concerns Butler's legal practice. Only a few letters in this subseries concern the Caucasian; these include some letters to and from Lester Butler in 1914 about the dissolution of the Caucasian. Also included are occasional letters having to do with the management of Butler's plantation at Elliott.
In the 1910s, there are letters from Butler to the manager of his Elliott plantation, letters to others about finding a new plantation manager, and letters about supplying the plantation with nut and fruit trees, fish, and game birds. In February 1916, Butler wrote to order the sale of his cotton because he expected cotton prices to go down because the conflict between Germany and England was closing off opportunities to ship cotton across the Atlantic. There are occasional letters in the 1920s from Butler to his son Edward at Elliott. By 1927, Edward had left Elliott and begun practicing law with his brother, Marion Butler, Jr., in Winston-Salem. Several letters in 1928 and 1929 have to do with unpaid taxes at Elliott. Beginning in 1929, Marion Butler corresponded with Rufus Gaddy about rents, buildings, and other business at Elliott.
Much correspondence, 1913-1916, relates to Butler's interest in the composing and line-casting machine invented by Baylus Cade, former secretary to North Carolina Governor D. L. Russell. Included are reports on the machine by various engineers, letters about patents, and letters seeking investors. See also Series 3 for other papers relating to the Cade Manufacturing Company.
In 1913-1914, there are letters about possible claims cases of United States citizens for damages incurred in the Mexican Revolution, especially with Charles F. Hunt of El Paso, Tex., and Claude le Carboulec. There are also letters of introduction for Butler's law partner, Josiah M. Vale to American and Mexican officials in Mexico and from Butler and Vale seeking other claims cases in Mexico.
In the early 1920s, there are letters about every two or three months about the claim of the Santee Sioux and at similar intervals about the claim of James F. Jenkins against the United States.
In 1922, much correspondence relates to Butler's representation of Frederick Engstrum, who was competing with Henry Ford for the licensing of government nitrate and power plants in Muscle Shoals, Ala. Also in 1922, Butler worked to obtain government contracts for the Vivian Spinning Company in Cherryville, N.C., owned by fellow Republican John J. George. Beginning in 1925, Butler also represented Hackney Brothers, of Wilson, N.C., in their efforts to get government contracts to build auto bodies. See Series 3 for other papers relating to the Engstrum proposal and to Vivian Spinning Company.
Correspondence, 1922-1925, filed primarily in 1924 and 1925, documents Butler's involvement in business schemes in Mexico, including a plan to develop a power plant on the Malinaltenango River, an effort to develop a water supply for Mexico City, and a proposal to build a Portland cement factory in Tampico. Included are letters to and from James Slayden, N. S. Graham, T. M. West, John A. Betjeman, William MacKenzie, John J. Hawes, and others as well as related engineering reports. Earlier correspondence is primarily a group of letters, copies of which seem to have been sent together from one of the Malinaltenango actors to another. These are filed at the end of 1925, which appears to be the latest time they could have been sent. See also papers and reports in Series 3 concerning Mexican business.
Related to these Mexican business schemes and to claims arising from the Mexican Revolution are letters speculating on the resumption of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States in 1923 and the appointment of an American ambassador to Mexico. On 1 and 3 June 1925, T. M. West, an attorney in San Antonio, Tex., wrote to Butler about rumors of unrest and his assessment of the political and economic situation and the policies of Gen. Calles.
Butler's associate P. E. Barnard corresponded in 1925 with Mrs. W. G. Carter and with solicitors in London about Mrs. Carter's claim to be descended from and entitled to a share of the estate of Lord Chief Justice Holt of England.
In the mid- to late-1920s, Butler represented George Salmon, of New York, in his citizenship case (1924-1928); T. J. Cheek in his effort to be reinstated in the Army's Quartermaster Corps (1925); A. V. and M. F. Boyles, doctors from Lincolnton, N.C., in their attempts to get parole or clemency from the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, where they were imprisoned on a narcotics charge (1925-1926); the County National Bank of Lincolnton, N.C. (1925-1927); people making claims against the government for cotton taken or destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War (1927-1933); the Cherokee Indians of western North Carolina who were attempting to have James E. Henderson removed as superintendent and to re-gain the vote (1927-1928); and many people seeking government jobs.
In 1929, Marion and Florence Butler received a few letters from Haywood R. Faison, chief engineer, Carretera al Mar, Medellin, Colombia, describing the highway project he was working on in Colombia, the history and geography of the area, and the political events in Colombia that affected work on the highway.
Letters about politics comprise the majority of the correspondence in 1916, 1919, 1920, and a substantial part of the correspondence in most years. Very little political correspondence is found in 1913-1915.
Correspondence, 1916, discusses the election, local and national politics, and the Progressive movement. Butler wrote about taxation, the Democratic Party, Theodore Roosevelt's political future, North Carolina politics, and patronage.
Included are letters, 1915-1916, transmitting articles by Butler on political subjects such as Wilson's foreign policy, Democratic tax policy, and Butler's proposed national agricultural policy, to newspapers and magazines. Also included are letters, April 1917, to Republican newspaper editors urging them to increase their circulation in spite of the war.
Political correspondence in 1919 includes letters received by Butler as well as letters and drafts of letters sent by Butler, most of which relate to John Motley Morehead's campaign for Congress in a special Congressional election held in December.
In 1920, Butler regularly wrote about the national and state Republican Party. In that year, there are many letters reporting on Republican county organizations, on Butler's spearheading the "Pritchard for President" campaign, the North Carolina Republican Party convention, and Butler's election as a delegate to the national Republican convention. In the spring of 1920, Butler received campaign materials from Republican presidential candidates Leonard Wood, Hiram W. Johnson, Calvin Coolidge, and Frank O. Lowden. In a letter of 16 June 1920 to Frank A. Linney, Butler gave his account of the votes of the North Carolina delegation in the national Republican convention. Other topics include Butler's efforts to have the Republican Party establish a southern campaign headquarters. After the election, there are many letters advocating Butler's appointment as secretary of agriculture.
Prominent political correspondents in 1919 and 1920 included J. S. Basnight of New Bern; William G. Bramham of Durham; Lester Butler; William Preston Bynum; Harry M. Daugherty; John J. George; D. L. Gore; Warren G. Harding; Will H. Hays; Thurston T. Hicks; A. E. Holton; Charles A. Jonas; Frank A. Linney; Henry Cabot Lodge; Robert H. McNeill; I. M. Meekins; John M. Morehead (1866-1923); Jake Newell; John J. Parker; Jeter Conley Pritchard; J. H. Quinn; H. F. Seawell; Hoke Smith; Reed Smoot; and Zeb V. Walser.
From 1920 on there are many letters to and from Butler from people wanting federal jobs, mostly as postmasters or mail carriers, but also as census takers, prohibition enforcement officers, or tax collectors. Letters show that Butler was advising candidates for government positions and representing their interests to the Post Office Department, the Civil Service Commission, and Congress. In at least some of the cases, Butler received a fee for his services.
Many letters in November and December 1920 and January 1921 endorse Marion Butler for Secretary of Agriculture or discuss his chances of being appointed. Between January 1921 and January 1924, there is very little political correspondence other than letters related to patronage jobs. In a letter, 19 January 1924 to L. E. Dickson of Gastonia, N.C., later printed and distributed to others, Marion Butler recommended a new plan of organization for the Republican Party in North Carolina and called for a new platform and new leadership. Early in 1924, Butler wrote to William G. Bramham and I. M. Meekins as well as other state leaders about the Republican county conventions and the Republican Party in North Carolina.
In the fall of 1924, a few letters discuss the presidential campaign. Richard F. Pettigrew wrote to Butler about the effect of Robert LaFollette's candidacy on the Republican and Democratic campaigns. W. H. Fisher, an attorney in Clinton, N.C., wrote on 4 November 1924 that he thought Coolidge would come nearer carrying North Carolina than any Republican presidential candidate in the previous quarter century. "I think," wrote Fisher, "it would be a great joke if the K.K.K. and the people who want good government should get together and put him over." Fisher thought there was no doubt that the K.K.K. supported Coolidge.
From late November 1924 to early 1925, the chief topic of letters is the unsuccessful effort to get Marion Butler's brother George Butler appointed federal judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. There are many letters to North Carolina Republican leaders asking for endorsements and other assistance in securing the appointment.
Occasional letters demonstrate Butler's interest in specific issues. For example, in September 1924 he exchanged letters with North Carolina governor Cameron Morrison about the establishment of a national park in western North Carolina and a port development bill.
In the summer and fall of 1925, Butler corresponded with James F. Barrett of Greensboro and others about Barrett's scheme to organize Republican clubs in North Carolina. Later in 1925 and in 1926, Butler corresponded with Harvey A. Jonas, Charles A. Jonas, George M. Pritchard, C. F. Honeycutt, Leland Raines, J. J. Brinson, John J. George, J. J. Jenkins, Jake Newell, and others in North Carolina proposing changes in Republican Party organization in the state.
In April 1925, H. V. Wilson, Kenan Professor of Zoology, wrote Butler about the work at the Beaufort Lab of the U. S. Bureau of Fisheries.
Additional political correspondence is found in September and October 1925, when Butler corresponded with Charles U. Gordon of the Southern States Republican League about the organization and its meeting on 24 October.
Also in the fall of 1926 is found correspondence about Congressional campaigns in North Carolina, especially that of Kenneth Smathers of Asheville in the Tenth Congressional District.
From 1927 on, most of the political correspondence relates to internal problems in the North Carolina Republican Party, but there are also discussions of state and national politics. Butler continued to advocate reorganization of the state's Republican Party, to represent applicants for federal jobs, and to participate in campaigns of the national Republican Party.
Letters, 1927, relate to appointment of a United States District Attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina, an assistant District Attorney for the middle district, and a United States Marshal for the middle district. Many letters in 1928 relate to selection of delegates for the Republican National Convention, to Congressional campaigns in North Carolina, and to the Hoover campaign. A carbon copy of a letter, 26 July 1928, from Marion Butler to Charles A. Jonas, details the Republican vote in North Carolina in 1920 by county and urges registering Republican women and getting support as means of increasing the vote for 1928.
Letters demonstrate a continuing interest in obtaining a federal office for Marion Butler's brother George. Letters in 1929 discuss the possible appointment of George Butler as a judge on the Court of Claims and in 1930 as chief counsel of the Federal Power Commission.
Butler's correspondence in the late 1920s and early 1930s reveals his interest and participation in national political debates. In 1930, Butler sent articles on taxes, farm relief, and the financial panic to various newspapers and magazines for publication. In April 1930, Butler wrote to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about John J. Parker's nomination to the United States Supreme Court. Responses to his letters are dated late April and early May 1930. In 1931 and 1932, Butler wrote to Senators, members of the Republican National Committee, and other prominent Republicans in an effort to be appointed to the Federal Farm Board. In October 1932, Butler campaigned for the Republican Party in Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, and Tennessee. With a letter of 31 May 1933 to H. E. C. Bryant, Butler transmitted a copy of his statement before the Senate Finance Committee on the President's National Industrial Recovery Bill.
In September and October 1937, Butler exchanged letters with Charles A. Jonas on the future of the Republican Party and the possibility of a coalition with anti-New Deal Democrats.
Major political correspondents after 1926 include J. J. Combs; John H. Hayes, Republican National Committeeman; John A. Hendricks; Brownlow Jackson, Republican State Committee chairman; Charles A. Jonas; Giles Mebane, president and editor of the Beaufort News and candidate for Congress; I. M. Meekins; United States Senator George Moses. Ural R. Murphy; George M. Pritchard; and Zeb V. Walser.
Arrangement: by correspondent.
Undated letters are filed alphabetically by correspondent. Letters from family members are found in the "B" file. There are also several letters from R. F. Pettigrew and D. L. Russell. In the file for unidentified correspondents are many fragments of letters.
Arrangement: by type.
Drafts and copies of speeches and articles; drafts of letters to various newspapers, usually replying to editorials about Butler; open letters to constituents; and statements by Butler presented as news stories quoting Butler but mostly written by Butler himself. Topics include currency reform; business, trusts, and industry; national and state politics; Tom Watson and the internal politics of the People's Party; education; the 1900 white supremacy campaign; various elections and political figures; rural free delivery; Butler's attempts to gain political appointments in different administrations; Mexico and the Vera Cruz incident; disarmament; the "Pritchard for President" campaign; socialism; temperance; and agricultural issues.
Arrangement: by subject.
Printed comments and documents relating to various Senate bills and resolutions, including the ship subsidy bill, a bill to amend postal laws for second-class mail, postal savings banks, various military appointments, and the international commerce act. There are also copies of public resolutions 1-42, 1899-1900; various bills and amendments; and forms relating to employment in the Census Office. Senate lists give the monthly issue of pensions to individuals by date and state for January to May 1896. There are many documents, including depositions and petitions in support of candidates for various North Carolina postal appointments, including Israel D. Hargett of Rocky Mount, John H. McBrayer of Shelby, Samuel H. Vick of Wilson, G. E. Harriss of Littleton, C. P. Anthony in Scotland Neck, various individuals in New Bern, and a few others. Correspondence about post office appointments and letters of support for candidates for postmasterships during Butler's tenure in the Senate may be found in Series 1.2.
Other items include transcripts of testimony taken by the Sub-committee of the Committee on the Judiciary and by the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, on the nomination of Hamilton Glover Ewart to be district judge for the Western District of North Carolina, and other documents relating to the confirmation hearings. These other documents include clippings, pamphlets, lists of charges, and affidavits. See related correspondence in Series 1.2.
Arrangement: by type.
Quarterly reports on the membership and dues received of the North Carolina Farmers' State Alliance by county, 1891-1895, and other items relating to the Farmers' Alliance. Included are lists of delegates by county to the May 1892 state convention, their Alliance membership and stance on the Alliance, with additional comments; bonds and affidavits of personal property and capital of various individuals, Sep-Dec 1893; and a list of dues from the sub-alliance of Robeson County, 1894.
Arrangement: by type.
Lists, printed material, notes and papers of the People's Party, and speeches and writings of Populists. The material includes lists of national and North Carolina People's Party leaders and organizers; papers about business of the National Executive Committee of the People's Party; blank forms for petitions, lists of names, depositions, and votes on party issues; minutes of the Populist conference, 16 March 1898; and various resolutions, accounts, and notes for People's Party both nationally and in North Carolina. Printed material is probably separated enclosures from the political correspondence and includes handbills, circulars, and pamphlets, primarily about voter registration and the People's Party platform, as well as announcements of meetings and conventions. There is also an Ohio delegate's ribbon for the 1900 National Convention of the People's Party.
People's Party speeches and writings include articles on the history and future of Populism, the People's Party platform, and other political matters.
There are many lists from the 1900 election, including those of Democrats and Populists to whom literature should be sent, often annotated by notes about the situation and amendment in that township or county. Also included are voter registration oaths, lists of Populist and Republican voters in the election of 2 August 1900, reports of election fraud, and voting statistics for the 1900 election. See related correspondence in Series 1.2.
Arrangement: by type.
Lists of Republicans in North Carolina, often by county, with occasional notes on individuals or political matters; writings on the Federal Farm Board, Butler's push to be named Harding's secretary of agriculture, the Eighteenth Amendment, the Republican platform, and business, industry, and agriculture; and other papers, including form letters, resolutions, copies of correspondence, memoranda, petitions, voting statistics, and legal papers. Political literature and handbills include circulars on Butler and other North Carolina Republicans, the 1932 election, Butler's attempt to be named secretary of agriculture, meetings, speakers, conventions, and various political issues. See related correspondence in Series 1.3.
Arrangement: by type.
Other political papers include lists of names, probably of Populists and their supporters; literature on the Appalachian Park, prohibition, trusts, and other topics; and articles on various reform issues.
Included in political speeches and writings are a speech and some articles, 1897, by David Lubin advocating a protective tariff. Also included are "Why Agriculture and Business Require Stable Money,"  by Clarence Poe; "The Origin and Operation of the 1933 Cotton Producers Pool to December 15, 1934," by Oscar Johnston, "How to Make Effective the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States," by Robert H. McNeill, and writings by unidentified authors about trusts, silver, agriculture, and other topics.
Pamphlets, circulars, and handbills, include "Silver Siftings and Short Sayings" by J. R. Sovereign, as well as flyers from various organizations, such as the United American Patriots, National League of Women Voters, Patriotic and Protective League, Southern Sociological Congress, the Woman's Peace Party, and the National Direct Legislation League.
|Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-114/1|
Arrangement: by type of material.
Legal and business papers of Marion Butler and his law partner Josiah Vale. Included are papers related to investments and legal cases; papers relating to claims against the United States government, most for property taken by the United States Army during the Civil War; papers relating to claims and other legal cases involving various Indian tribes; papers relating to South Dakota's suit against North Carolina to recover defaulted bonds; and Spencer Adams libel trial material.
Legal and business papers of Marion Butler and his law partner Josiah Vale. For related correspondence, see Subseries 1.3. Files have been established for some of Butler's projects for which there are a considerable number of papers. These have been filed in Subseries 3.2; the remaining business and legal papers are filed chronologically in this subseries.
In the chronological papers are bills and receipts for various expenditures related to the Caucasian, including American Press Association services, paper, printing costs, freight bills, and other expenses; many papers in 1913 about a bill to prevent professional lobbying of Congress; information on a fire insurance company; a list of stock investments; laws and regulations governing the recognition of agents, attorneys, and other persons to represent claimants before the Department of the Interior and other bureaus; background information on various cases and lobbying efforts to obtain federal contracts; and pages from case notebook detailing cases, payments, and actions. Additionally, there are personal financial papers of Marion Butler, including bills and receipts; Senate accounts; bills and receipts for household, plantation, and professional expenses; papers concerning the American Cotton Association and the Sampson Tobacco Farmers Convention; and maps of Butler's property in Sampson County.
Arrangement: by project.
There are many papers relating to Butler and Vale's business investments in Mexico. A few legal documents relate to the Beales land grant, a Mexican land grant case in the state of Coahuila. Boer colony papers include legal documents, agreements, and memoranda relating to Butler and Vale's investment in a scheme to resettle exiled South African Boers in Mexico, 1902-1903. Other Mexican investments papers consist of reports on the Tampico Cement Company and the Hidalgo and Northeastern Railway in Mexico.
There are also many papers relating to Butler's representation of Frederick Engstrum, who was competing with Henry Ford for the licensing of government nitrate and power plants in Muscle Shoals, Ala. Items include Congressional documents, legal agreements, reports, papers, statistics, information on the Water Power League of America, and proposals.
Mining papers include legal papers for the Empire Copper Company in Nevada; analyses and assays of ores from various mines; an oil lease of Butler and Vale for wells in Alluwe, Okla., in 1909; and reports on mining sites in New Mexico and the Gardner-Hill mine in North Carolina.
Colombian claims papers, including legal documents, memoranda, and a clipping, document Butler and Vale's attempt to prosecute claims by the Colombian government against the United States for the Panama Canal. The Navassa file contains a report on phosphate deposits on Navassa Island.
Also included are a report on making paper out of American saw grass, and brochures and legal papers of the Grass-Fibre Pulp and Paper Corporation; papers relating to Beckwith v. Raleigh and Gaston Railroad; papers relating to Manning v. Railroad; and Cade Manufacturing Company legal and financial documents, including lists of patents, a patent application, descriptions and evaluations of the Cade machine, stockholder resolutions, powers of attorney, and agreements.
See Series 1 for correspondence related to business and legal projects.
Arrangement: by tribe.
Papers relating to legal matters involving Indian tribes, in which Marion Butler and his law partner Judge Josiah Vale acted as attorneys. These included a number of claims against the United States government. Their most important cases involved the Cherokees, Colvilles, Osage, Utes, and various branches of the Sioux.
Cherokee papers include lists of applicants for enrollment as Cherokee freedmen; testimonies, briefs, affidavits, about a land dispute; copies of a bill, 1928, to confer full citizenship upon the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; and papers related to an attempt to remove James E. Henderson as Superintendent of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. Among other things, Henderson was charged with allowing the Cherokee to be disfranchised because many of them voted Republican and he was a Democrat. See series 1.4 for correspondence relating to Butler's representation of the Cherokee.
There are many legal documents regarding the suit of the Colville Indians of Washington against the United States government for compensation for their reservation and documents relating to Hugh Gordon's suit against Butler and Vale regarding the settlement of fees resulting from the Colville claims suit.
There are also legal documents relating to Butler and Vale's representation of Indian traders who were attempting to collect money from the Osage Indians of the Oklahoma Territory and from the United States, "as the guardian and trustee of the said tribe of Osage Indians." The Osage had refused to pay the traders because they claimed that the traders had overcharged them.
Santee Sioux documents are mostly about restoring annuities to the Medawakanton and Wahpakoota Sioux Indians. Other Sioux documents relate to an earlier attempt to restore annuities to the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of the Sioux or Dakota Indians of the Dakotas, the so-called Upper Bands of the Sioux who did not participate in the Sioux Uprising of 1862.
Ute legal documents include memoranda, agreements, proclamations, and contracts, relating to the Ute Indians efforts to be compensated for land in Colorado which they had been compelled to cede to the United States government. Other papers, 1891-1912 and undated, related to dividing the fee among the lawyers associated with the case. There are also a few papers of Josiah Vale before his partnership with Marion Butler relating to the Ute tribe.
Miscellaneous items include documents on Indian affairs and documents on an investigation, 1910, of conditions among the Catawba. Correspondence related to Indian legal cases is filed in Series 1.3 and 1.4.
Arrangement: by case.
Legal and business papers relating to claims against the United States government and other governments. In most of these cases, the claimant was represented by the firm of Butler and Vale. In some cases, most notably the Durkee claim, which had to do with Pacific Railway bonds, it is not clear whether Butler or Vale had any active role. The Eubank case involved the disposition of public lands in Louisiana. The Foard, Hair, Knight, Nutt, Shuford claims were claims for compensation for property used or destroyed by the United States Army during the Civil War from citizens who claimed to have been loyal to the Union. Others papers relate to claims for salary compensation of United States Senators who served partial terms during Reconstruction. Another claim was that of George W. Dant for reimbursement for losses growing out of the Ford's Theater disaster on 9 June 1893. The Jenkins claim was for compensation for 600 bales of cotton linters taken by the United States in July 1918. These papers include legal agreements of Josiah M. Vale, Marion Butler, and various other individuals regarding claims cases; government documents; affidavits and depositions; notes and printed material. Also see Series 1.3 for correspondence related to claims cases.
Arrangement: by type of material.
Spencer Adams libel trial material consists of notes and memoranda about Adams's alleged corruption while he served as a judge in the Indian Territory; lists of possible witnesses in Oklahoma; and legal documents, including a summons, preparation for the defense, affidavits, evidence, depositions, opinions, answers, statements of the case on appeal, and articles of April and August 1908 in the Caucasian in which Lester Butler alleged that Adams accepted bribes while Adams was chief justice of the Indian Court. See Subseries 1.3. for related correspondence.
Legal and other documents, including agreements, broadsides, and trial documents relating to South Dakota's suit against North Carolina to recover defaulted bonds. For correspondence about the South Dakota bond case, see Subseries 1.3.
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Clippings and scrapbooks of clippings, primarily on political topics. Originally, most of the newspapers clippings were probably enclosures with correspondence. Included are 1894 election tallies for California; an article on "freedom from industrial slavery" and dangers of relying on silver issue, ca. 1896; a statement of the condition of the banks in North Carolina in 1896; National Grange report of transportation, 1896; clippings on the election of 1898 and white supremacy campaign, ca. 1898; an article from the Atlantic on imperialism, Nov. 1898; Southern Mercury, 1898; a list of railway associations and their officers, ca. 1900; the Biblical Reporter , 2 Feb. 1898; a comparison of the vote for North Carolina offices, 1892 and 1896; articles on property inheritance by C. F. Taylor, 1896; the September 1896 issue of Direct Legislation Record ; items about public control of franchises; and an article about beating of African Americans in Wilmington, N.C.
In addition to the scrapbooks of political clippings, there is a scrapbook of clippings of travel articles (Vol. 6, Notes on Travel) and one of religious articles (Vol. 7).
Arrangement: by type of material.
Miscellaneous papers, including biographical sketches of Marion Butler, possibly written by Butler himself; printed material, including pamphlets on agriculture; a volume of legal notes; and other items.
|Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-114/1|
Oversize Image OP-P-114/1-2
Oversize Image OP-P-114/3-4
|Oversize Image OP-P-114/5|
|Oversize Image OP-P-114/6|
Oversize Image OP-P-114/7-8
Oversize Image OP-P-114/9-10
Processed by: Linda Sellars, Roslyn Holdzkom, Elizabeth Pauk, November 1994
Encoded by: Margaret Dickson, February 2006
Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, April 2010; Nancy Kaiser, 2020Back to Top